Why I Stayed

I was a kid who played sports. It was a rule in my house, I had to play some sort of sport. This must have been my parents’ way to keep me and my two older sisters out of trouble, but I’m not completely sure. Either way it worked, I never got into trouble, and I found something I was really good at.

I started with Tae Kwon Do. My parents felt like my sisters and I should have some sort of knowledge about self-defense in case we were ever attacked. Now, at this point I was in grade two. Was I going anywhere by myself? No, but my parents’ motto was better safe than sorry. My Tae Kwon Do career lasted as long as it took you to read this sentence. Good riddance, I hated it.

Then came soccer, which I played for a couple of years. I only played this because all of my friends from school were playing it. Yet again, I hated it. It just wasn’t very fun, and I was always the goalie because no one else ever wanted to be in net, which was awful. I was afraid of the ball. So, goodbye soccer.

Now, here’s where the fun came in. I began my first ever Women’s Softball season. I met new friends who didn’t go to my school, I learned a new sport, and it was great. I went on to play eight years of softball, and I was really good. This isn’t my opinion; I was ranked one of the top five best pitchers in Manitoba. I played through part of elementary school and all of high school. When grade 12 came around, and plans for graduation were coming together, I needed to make a decision. Do I keep playing and try to find a university in America who will give me a scholarship? Softball was a full time hobby. I was in the states 4 to 5 times a year for tournaments. Was I willing to miss my own high school graduation for a trip to the states? Did I want to go to an American university on a softball scholarship? The answer was no.

If I had kept playing, gotten a scholarship and gone to the US for university, I don’t think I would be very happy. I love Winnipeg, it’s my home. I could never imagine leaving my family and friends and starting a new life in a new place. I know some would love that opportunity, and I respect that. It’s just not what I wanted at the time, nor is it what I want right now. If I had gone to the US alone, I don’t think I would’ve been outgoing enough to be the best I could be. At this moment, I might be finishing up my university years, I might even be playing softball on the Big Ten Network. Sometimes, when I’m sitting outside on a summer night in my backyard, I think about the “what ifs” of my softball career. Some might see my decision as a missed opportunity, but I see it as what was right for me. Winnipeg had its own opportunities to offer, and for that I’m grateful.